Kolhapur is a city that is situated in Maharashtra which was established in 1707. Apart from being known for its Marathi film industry radio stations and the Kolhapuri chappals, the city is known for its rich tradition of producing noted wrestlers. The ‘city of wrestlers’ as it is called has a history with wrestling dating back to the time the city was established back in the 18th century.
The tradition is with regard to organizing wrestling tournaments regularly in both the rural and urban areas. A plethora of families in the city have backgrounds in wrestling. The Khasbag Maidan is the stadium where tournaments are held. It is also the largest wrestling stadium in India. The stadium, built nearly hundred years ago by Rajarshi Shahu Maharaj is also considered an important monument and heritage site.
Kolhapur – the city that produced Olympic medalists
The city of Kolhapur or the city of wrestlers, consistent with its rich tradition of wrestling has produced a lot of wrestlers who have gone on to not only make the city but also the whole nation proud with their performances in the international sphere. Due to the training facilities available, the training imparted at the city and the strong genes associated with the same, wrestlers from Kolhapur stand out from the rest.
Three of India’s Olympic Games medalists are from the city of wrestlers. First and foremost, a household name in the world of wrestling, Sushil Kumar is from Kolhapur. The 37-year-old has won two medals – a bronze and a silver in 2008 and 2012 respectively.
Similarly, Yogeshwar Dutt who won a bronze medal that was later upgraded to a silver due to a doping violation incident in the competition is also from nowhere else but Kolhapur. Last but not the least, Sakshi Malik who won bronze in Rio in 2016 is also one of the women who are inspiring fellow and aspiring female wrestlers to take up the sport seriously.
One thing is for certain: we have not seen the last of a successful wrestler from the city of wrestlers.